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Centre returns GUJCOC Bill,asks state to amend 3 clauses

Dealing a blow to Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to have a tough anti-terror law in his state,the Centre on Friday decided to recommend to President Pratibha Patil that the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill,2003...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
June 20, 2009 12:43:52 am

Dealing a blow to Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to have a tough anti-terror law in his state,the Centre on Friday decided to recommend to President Pratibha Patil that the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill,2003,be returned to the State Legislature.

The Union Cabinet would recommend the President to return it with a message that it contains provisions which are against the government

policy and that the state should amend three critical clauses to make the Bill consonant with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act,2008,for clearance by the Centre.

The Centre had forwarded the Bill for Presidential assent in February this year. As first reported by this newspaper,President Patil had returned the Bill in March,saying the Union Cabinet should first give its views on it. “Under the proposed GUJCOC Act,a confession before a police officer is admissible in a court. This should be made inadmissible,” Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said after the Cabinet meeting. He added: “The Bill contains a clause that says a court cannot grant bail if the public prosecutor opposes it. The court should have the power to grant bail even if the public prosecutor opposes it,” he added.

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Recommending to the President to return the GUJCOC Bill to the Governor of Gujarat,the Cabinet has said a message should be sent to the Gujarat Legislature asking it to reconsider the Bill and (i) delete Clause 16,(ii) substitute the word “may” for “shall” after the words Special Court occurring in clause 20(2) and bring the proviso in line with the proviso to Section 43 D (2) of the UAP (Amendment) Act,2008,and (iii) amend Clause 20(4) to bring it in conformity with Section 43 D (5) of the UAP (Amendment) Act.

Clause 16 relates to the confession made before a police officer being admissible in court and Clause 20 (2) deals with the extension of the detention period. Clause 20 (4) deals with the powers of the court to grant bail.

Modi politicising the Bill: Shaktisinh Gohil

Ahmedabad: The Leader of Opposition

in the State Assembly,Shaktisinh Gohil,has accused Chief Minister Narendra Modi of politicising the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill.

Addressing mediapersons here on Friday,Gohil said that Modi has been repeatedly charging the Congress-led UPA government of not recommending the Bill for the approval of the President of India.

He then reminded Modi that it was the BJP-led NDA government that had sent the Bill back to the State Assembly in 2003,demanding amendments in it because of

certain objectionable clauses.

Moreover,he said there was no word like “terror” in the entire GUJCOC draft. It only talked of organised crime. Gohil said the UPA government had already passed the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act of 2008,which is adequate to deal with terrorism. As the law was applicable all over the country,it could be used in Gujarat as well to check terrorism.

‘Congress more interested in vote-bank politics’

GANDHINAGAR: THE state government has taken strong exception to the Union Cabinet’s decision to advise President Pratibha Patil to return the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly. Reacting to the development,Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah told Newsline on Friday,“The decision smacks of the vote-bank politics being played by the Congress ruling at the Centre. (It shows) the party gives more importance to such politics than to the national security.” Shah,considered a close confidante of Narendra Modi,added that legislation like GUJCOC already existed in neighbouring Mahrashtra.

“The Congress-led UPA government has done injustice to Gujarat,” he said,demanding that the Centre should clear the Bill without suggesting any changes in it. When asked,the minister said since the Gujarat Assembly budget session has been summoned,he would not comment on the amendments suggested.

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